Sundance Film Festival: ‘Marvelous And The Black Hole’ Review


By: Amanda Guarragi

Marvelous and the Black Hole is a magical directorial debut from Kate Tsang. She brings a story about grieving and losing your way after the loss of a loved one. Tsang addresses that pain that never fully goes away through thirteen-year-old Sammy (Miya Cech), who lost her mother and is trying to go on without her. Sammy has a very hard time accepting her mother’s death, so she lashes out against her father, who has been dating someone knew for six months. Sammy doesn’t feel complete, she feels lost and doesn’t know who to turn to. She feels misunderstood and that no one at home is even listening to her.

Miya Cech’s performance is fantastic. Her line delivery and attitude at the beginning of the film impressed me! She really created such a strong character that made you feel for her and understand her. The most important takeaway from the film is that you can find comfort in people when you least expect it. For Sammy, she was caught vandalizing school property, so her father put her in summer school. She leaves in the middle of class because she clearly doesn’t want to be there and bumps into Margot (Rhea Perlman), who turns out to be a marvelous magician.

As the weeks pass, Margot takes Sammy under her wing, first as her assistant and then as her pupil. At first, Sammy was reluctant and acted out with Margot but soon after, she softened. The reason why she did is because she found an adult who was willing to listen to her and appreciate the things she’s interested in. It is such an unlikely pairing because they are total opposites but Sammy felt comfort with Margot, as a maternal figure. Margot and Sammy bond over magic and the loss of their loved ones. They created a beautiful friendship, based on their mutual love and respect for their art and each other.

Marvelous and the Black Hole is charming, endearing and so wholesome. Kate Tsang’s directorial debut is filled with so much love and whimsy, that it came through in Sammy’s dreamlike sequences. There are moments that are surprising because Tsang added some magic with imagery symbolizing Sammy’s emotional state on screen. The main thing about magic, is that things aren’t always as they seem and that’s a perfect way to parallel the grieving process because everyone is hiding their pain.

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